Dumbbell Shrugs


Dumbbell Shrugs

Hold Dumbbells at your Sides and Shrug during this Shoulder Exercise, which isolates your Trapezius Shoulder Muscles

Welcome to our Dumbbell Shrugs Exercise Instruction Guide!

On this page you’ll learn how to do this shoulder exercise using the correct technique. Below you’ll find pictures, exercise instructions, and tips on how to get the most out of this and other Shoulder Exercises so you can immediately add to your next Shoulder Workout Routine and other Weight Training Programs.

Have you seen our Best Shoulder Exercises page yet? See if this shoulder exercise made the list!

Exercise Summary

Exercise Name: Dumbbell Shrugs
Main Muscle: Trapezius
Secondary Muscle(s): N/A
Exercise Type: Isolation, Pull
Equipment Required: Dumbbell

Exercise Description and Instruction:

This shoulder exercise is one of our Dumbbell Exercises and allows you to isolate your trapezius shoulder muscles. During the lift, you’ll grab dumbbells at your side and shrug your shoulders holding the weight. Focus on only moving at the shoulder joint and keeping your feet flat on the floor.

You can also do shrugs as a Barbell Exercise (most effective) or Cable Exercise. See:

  • Barbell Shrugs
  • Cable Shrugs
  • Smith Machine Shrugs

To Perform this Shoulder Exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grasp a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). This will be your starting position.
  2. Using only your shoulders, exhale and raise your shoulders (shrug) up as far as you can.
  3. Pause for a moment then inhale and slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


  1. Rotate your shoulders from front to back in a semi-circular motion if it helps you feel the exercise in your traps. This is an alteration and is not required.
  2. Keep your feet firmly on the floor throughout the exercise. It may help to bend your knees slightly as you perform the exercise.
  3. Use wrist wraps for better grip if you are having difficulty holding the weight.
  4. Concentrate on only moving at the shoulder joint to complete each repetition. Focus on not using your arms in any way.

Now that you’ve seen Dumbbell Shrugs, which isolates your trapezius shoulder muscles, check out all of our different Shoulder Exercises!

Outside of Shrugs, there are a few basic movements that comprise most Shoulder Exercises. View the pages below for links to all our variations of the other popular shoulder exercise movements.

  • Upright Row
  • Lateral Raises
  • Military Press
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Most Popular)
  • Front Raise
  • Best Shoulder Exercises
  • Shoulder Workout Routine List
  • Weight Training Exercises Main Page
  • Dumbbell Exercises
  • Muscle Building Workouts and Strength Training Exercises
  • Fat Loss Workouts and Fat Burning Exercises

You’ve seen the Shoulder Exercises. Check out our Workout Routines!
Start at our Home Page.

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